Confession: I have a crush on celebrity chef Brian Malarkey. You know, the judge from ABC’s The Taste and the guy behind Searsucker. And I have a crush on his cookbook, Come Early, Stay Late. While it’s not a health cookbook, per say, it’s full of healthy recipes from his famed restaurants (think Charred Jalapeno Tuna Ceviche, Prosciutto Mozzarella Salad and Strawberry Summer Salad and Brussels Sprouts + Candied Walnuts to name a few). But best of all it’s flavored with Malarkey’s potent personality – it zings off every description and ever dish.
And the Top Chef was kind enough to share one of his recipes with us: Spicy Tomato + Cucumber Salad. It’s the quintessential summer salad with one twist – it’s hot to trot! (And yes, I second his motion to get the ripest tomatoes you can find – it makes a huge difference.) Salad never looked… I mean tasted so good. Dig in!
Spicy tomato + cucumber salad
serves 4 friends | as an app
I love the seeds of cucumbers and even more of tomatoes (find the ripest you can!). The color of cucumber skin, as well as the texture, is super appealing, especially for a cool, fresh salad like this one — so make peel strips! Half peeled and half not. This simple salad is meant to be “unapologetically” HOT! So if you aren’t saying sorry after the first bite, add more HEAT!!!
[for the salad]
1 cucumber, half peeled, sliced down the middle, cut in half moons
3 Roma or Capri tomatoes, cut into similar size as cucumber
1 handful arugula (or other spicy greens, such as mizuna or mustard)
[for the vinaigrette]
1 tablespoon Sambal or Sriracha chile paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 lime, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,
[how to do it]
1. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients.
2. Make the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together the chile paste, soy sauce, and lime juice and zest. Add the olive oil in a slow steady stream while whisking. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
3. To serve: You can add the tomatoes and cucumbers to the vinaigrette 10 to 20 minutes before serving as a little pre-marinade! When ready to serve, toss in the spicy greens, grab a cold bottle of beer, sake, or white wine, and it’s show time!